LOUIS I AN A
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Vol. 13 No. 3
I give my
pledge as an American
\o save and faithfully to
defend from waste the
natural resources of
my country — its soil
and minerals, its
nun, 11:1 11
e interest of coi
1 bi/ tt
TVihl Life dt
The keen-eurd vihl linl.,-,, is \iirli,
A.neriras lariiesi :iauir hint <niil on.',-
Iilinied II great role in supidiiiui; eiirlii
srillers vilh food to rnrrii lliem throu.il:
the irinirr unlit crnji harrrst the fid-
l„,ri,i„ year. Traditionultn associated
v.lh Thanl.-s,,irin</, lurl.eiis are not as
idenliful as tin-,/ aerr llualnu.i tl,,-,„
rails far skill, patienee ....,/ a l.aoale,l,ie
of the bird's habits.
— (Carer ,d,-lare I,,, .lark llriltl
mm$iA¥iA mm im mm ummi$ €mm%%mi
JIMMIE H. DAVIS
''^%\ L. D. YOUNG, JR.
Sitbscripfioti Fnc to Louisiana Residents
Ujtoii Written Request
STEVE HARMON. Editor
LOUISIANA WILD LIFE AND FISHERIES
E. R. McDonald, Sr., chairman Newellton
RAY WILA.TLEY. Vicc-Chairman Alexandria
JOHN PAUL CRALX Grand Chenier
JOHN CUTRONE Morgan City
WILLIAM S. DENTON Houma
L. RICHARD FLEMING Shreveport
JAMES J. FREY Lafavette
ELLIS C. IRWIN
Chief. Education & Publicity
RUDOLPH P. E.A.STERLY
Chief. Law Enforcement
JOHN D. NEWSOM
Chief. Fish and Game
JAMES N. McCONNELL
r. Oysters. Water Bottoms and Seafo.i.)
ssistant Director and Acting Chief.
Chief. Fur Division
KENNETH E. BIGLANE
Chief. Water Pollution Control
FEDERAL AID SECTION
Permission to reprint material in tliis publication will be granted provided that it
is not used for ndvertisinjr or commercial purposes and provided that projier credit
is given. Contributions and photographs are welcon-.e. but Loulsiaxa Coxsekvation-
IST cannot be responsible for loss or damage to unsolicited material. Manuscripts
should be addressed to Editor. Loi'isiANA Conservationlst. Wild Life & Fisheries
Building. 400 Royal St.. New Orleans 16. La.
Entered as second class mail matter August 21, 1047, at the Post
Office at New Orleans, La., under the act of August 24, 1912.
THE WILD LIFE and Fisheries Commission,
like a private corporation, is composed of
various organization groups. These groups
are known by many titles. In our Commission we
call them divisions. We operate the commission
through seven such divisions. They are: Educa-
tion and Publicity; Enforcement: Fish and Game:
Oysters, Water Bottoms and Seafoods; Refuge;
Fur, and Water Pollution Control.
To effect a more
divisions are di-
vided into sections
and from these
sections we have
supervisory d i s-
the state. Each
district is respon-
sible for Wild Life
and Fisheries pro-
grams in a given
number of parishes.
In this issue we will discuss functions of the
Education and Publicity division and the En-
forcement division. The other divisions will be
reported in future issues.
The Education and Publicity division is the
clearing house of the commission. From the
information section the commission's activities,
rules and regulations aimed primarily at the
good management of Louisiana's wildlife re-
sources, are passed on to the public through the
daily and weekly press, through the radio and
television stations, and through the LOUISIANA
CONSERVATIONIST, official publication of the
Wild Life and Fisheries Commission. The infor-
mation section also acts as a clearing house for
speakers whose subject ties in with the conserva-
tion of our wildlife resources. It is here that we
feel a closer relationship with the general public
through personal contact.
L. D. YOUNG, JR.
The commission is fortunate in having a num-
ber of excellent speakers, who are considered ex-
perts in their field. Although, most of our division
and section heads are already over-worked, sel-
dom will one of them turn down an opportunity
to "speak his piece" on sound game management
practices, or other subjects related to the wise
use of our wildlife resources.
The Education section supervises the wildlife
museum, which was dedicated recently, and wild-
life education in schools program, which we hope
will begin in our state schools at an early date.
It is, through this program, that we base our
hope for the future of wildlife resources in Lou-
isiana. In the projected set-up, we expect to have
an education assistant in each of our eight dis-
trict offices. These education specialists will be
equipped with tools of the trade — lectures on
wildlife resources, projection machines and wild-
life resource films, portable wildlife exhibits and
resource bulletins and pamphlets.
The division that represents the commission
on the local level is Enforcement. It is here that
the public comes in direct contact with your
wildlife agency. And I might add here that I'd
stack our group of enforcement officers up
against any in the country.
\\'ith this new jet age of motorboats, pleasure
boating, water sports and other recreation on our
lakes, streams and rivers, enforcement takes on
newer responsibilities. In addition to enforcing
the Louisiana Motorboat Act, our agents are
finding it harder and harder to cope with the
fish shocking violators and the migratory bird
act violators because of the jet-type motors now
propelling boats operated by a small minority of
our people who have no respect for law and order
in any sense. To offset this, we are compelled to
purchase larger boats and motors of greater
horsepower. And we expect to make even greater
use of our planes in an effort to bring to justice
any and all violators of our fish and game laws —
and that includes shrimp violators, oyster vio-
lators and stream pollution violators.
IN THIS ISSUE
Industry and Recreation 2
Mudbug Farming 5
Flyway Group Meets 8
National Wildlife Week 10
Wildlife in Louisiana 12
Louisiana Marshes Film 15
Down and Out Fishing 16
Bird of the Month Inside Back Cover
Louisiana's geographical location and diver-
sified terrain, varying from hardwood tim-
ber stands, swamp bottoms and velvet-green
pine lands to gold and green marshes, provides
possibly the greatest outdoor recreational oppor-
tunities of any state in the country.
This unusual combination of fields, forests and
marshes — laced together by thousands of miles
of rivers, lakes, bays and bayous — provides un-
limited and diversified hunting, fishing and boat-
The southern reaches of the state, fronting on
the Gulf of Mexico, are gateways to sport fish-
ing challenging any offered by other states. In
the interior of the state, sportsmen find top fresh
water fishing sport. Hunting is enjoyed, in sea-
son, throughout the state. Hunting seasons gen-
erally extend for a total of five months in the
year, beginning as early as September 1, and end-
ing as late as early February.
This unique and varied expanse of land, forest,
fresh and salt water, fringed by coastal marshes,
is also a prime example of how industry and rec-
reation go hand in hand.
The wooded areas, that provide game and game
birds of many species, also provide timber for
lumber and pulp mill products.
The southern parishes (counties) produce the
bulk of the country's furbearing animals — more
commercial pelts than all of the provinces of Can-
ada. Contrary to popular opinion ; this is factual,
and primarily due to muskrat and nutria produc-
tion in the state's 4,000.000 sprawling acres of
Along with muskrat and nutria; mink, raccoon,
opossum, otter, skunk, fox and cat pelts swell the
aggregate fur take to a multi-million dollar fig-
ure. Louisiana alligator hides bring premium
prices in domestic and world markets.
Beneath the waving, sealike expanse of varied
marsh grasses is uncounted hidden wealth in the
form of salt, sulphur, oil and natural gas. Along
with a bountiful supply of fresh water, these are
the principal ingredients for a petrochemical in-
dustry still in its infancy, but a billion dollar
As a sportsmen's paradise; the bayous, lakes
and bays spread over this underground wealth
teem with both commercial and sport fish. The
passes of the mighty Mississippi River are jump-
ing-off spots for big game fish ranging from slim,
streamlined sailfish to heavy-weight blue marlin.
Bull dolphin, tuna, king mackerel, wahoo and tar-
pon are plentiful ; along with the smaller but
none-the-less popular game fish.
Offshore drilling rigs and platforms built by
the oil companies have changed the migratory
patterns of many fish. Relatively recent newcom-
ers include giant jewfish, spadefish, barracuda,
and the ever-popular and highly desired pompano.
The rush to find oil, in years past, resulted in
some appreciable damage to the coastal marshes,
but the scars and salt water intrusion are being
corrected through sound conservation measures.
Probably no other area of the country is more
bountifully blessed with almost limitless water,
land, and marsh resources conducive to both in-
dustrial progress and outdoor recreation.
Each area of the state is distinguished by di-
versified terrain and accompanying opportunities
for recreation based upon the nature of the ter-
One good example of this unsurpassed recrea-
tion is seen in the annual migration of ducks,
geese and other waterfowl to Louisiana. Located
at the tip of the Mississippi flyway, Louisiana
can be likened to a target area for millions of
feathered migrants. Pouring down the vast Mis-
sissippi flyway, the winter travelers are con-
stricted into a tight pattern in Arkansas, choked
to cylinder bore, and the load is scattered all over
Louisiana is a leader in many respects, in com-
mercial, industrial and recreational attractions.
From the standpoint of the commercial fisher-
men and sportsmen, Louisiana's fish and game
are in the topmost ranks of the state's natural
Figures assembled by the Louisiana Wild Life
and Fisheries Commission, trustees of these vast
resources, reveal that the state's commercial fish-
eries industry represents an estimated outlay in
equipment of $85,000,000 and employs directly
over 37,000 persons.
The overall picture embracing allied industries
connected with commercial fisheries operations
shows a value of around $266,000,000 invested in
equipment alone. This figure is steadily growing,
and the total number of persons associated
directly or indirectly with the industry is well
One of the most valuable segments of the
fisheries industry is the annual shrimp crop. The
broad network of bays, bayous and lakes serve
as nursery grounds. Sound conservation laws to-
day govern the harvesting of shrimp in both in-
side and outside waters. Combined efforts of
commercial and sporting interests, spearheaded
by the Louisiana Wild Life and Fisheries Com-
mission, have brought the annual shrimp-take
back up from a low peak reached just before the
1958 Legislature passed the present laws govern-
ing trawling and closed seasons. Indications are
that the final tally for 1960 will .show Louisiana
back in first place, a position which the state
rightfully held for many years and will again
Louisiana shrimp are known throughout
national and international marketing sources for
both quality and size.
During the open seasons, sportsmen also har-
vest a generous share of shrimp which are used
as bait in salt water fishing, and for home con-
sumption. This is another example of how in-
dustry and recreation move hand in hand in shar-
ing Louisiana's natural resources.
Thirty years ago, shrimp, as a table dish, were
a comparative rarity in many parts of the coun-
ti'y, and were served only in areas where they
were taken. Today, as a result of the development
of refrigeration, freezing, new methods of har-
vesting, canning, bulk packaging and progi'essive
knowledge of preserving techniques, Louisiana
shrimp are reaching all national markets and
finding their way into select world markets. Over
3,500 trawl boats, both large and small, ply Lou-
isiana's inside and outside waters in their re-
spective seasons ; to harvest the sea and meet the
growing demand for Louisiana shrimp.
There are about sixty-five boats in Louisiana's
comparatively new menhaden industry, one
which produces oil and meal at an estimated
present value of $20,000,000. Netting methods are
scientifically geared to the present. Vessels used
in the menhaden industry average approximate-
ly 100 feet in length. Airplanes are used to spot
schools of menhaden and to direct operations for
the fishing fleets of four large and growing men-
haden firms ah'eady operating in Louisiana.
State waters yield thousands of tons of sea-
food of a large variety and superior quality. The
salt water fishing industry alone is worth more
than $5,000,000 annually, with the catch includ-
ing speckled trout, redfish, sheepshead, croaker,
red snapper, mackerel, flounder, mullet and drum
— all sporting fish that are eagerly sought by
sportsmen and their families who share in the
huge annual commercial and recreational fish
harvest of Louisiana waters.
The commercial fishermen also supply sea tur-
tles, their flesh being used in the preparation of
Louisiana turtle soup, the recipe being almost as
famous as that of Louisiana crab gumbo. Both
commercial interests and tens of thousands of
pleasure-bent state residents have made crabbing
a valuable state industry on one hand and a
wholesome family sport on the other.
Fresh water fisheries include commercial fish
crops that top the $100,000 annual mark. These
commercial catches include gaspergou. spoonbill
catfish, garfish and pet turtles. The fresh water
commercial take of turtles, also highly-prized on
the table, runs over 150,000 pounds valued at
slightly over $50,000.
Industry and sport hops along to both dollars
and pleasure in the form of frog legs. The Louisi-
ana harvest of the nocturnal croakers reaches the
nation's tables in an annual "crop" of approxi-
mately 125,000 pounds of astronomical delight.
It would be impossible to estimate the catch made
by sportsmen who lose little time in popping the
night's catch into frying pans for home consump-
Another broad and promising vista opened to
Louisiana sport and commercial fishermen with
the discovery of vast schools of tuna in the Gulf
of Mexico. As exploratory work of the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service was followed up by the Lou-
isiana Wild Life and Fisheries Commission and,
later, by the sportsmen of Louisiana; it became
evident that another source of industry accom-
panied by kindred recreation was destined to be
Insofar as tuna are concerned, trial packs have
proved the Gulf tuna are equal, if not a little
better, in flavor and texture than those of the
Research established that these fish breed in
the Gulf and hundreds of tuna taken during re-
search operations were found to contain ripened
It was this initial research that revealed the
presence of numbers of white marlin, blue mar-
lin, mako sharks, giant bull dolphin and elusive,
Along with other commercial fisheries opera-
tions is the Louisiana oyster industry — one that
provides the nation's finest oysters. It is a unique
combination of both fresh and salt water mingled
by Louisiana's geographical location that pro-
duces a flavor not found in oysters from any
The petrochemical industry mentioned, while
in its multi-million dollar infancy, was given an-
other boost in late November with the announce-
ment that a new petrochemical company would
erect a $50,000,000 plant on 850 acres of land in
Louisiana is keeping a stride of its industrial
growth by preserving its forests, restoring many
marshes, dedicating vast acreages to public hunt-
ing, and constantly maintaining scientific re-
search and conservation projects that will assure
recreational outdoor sport for generations to
come; and to attract visitors and their tourist
dollars spent on outdoor recreation to Louisiana.
In this work, Louisiana is fortunate to have
the full cooperation of the majority of indus-
tries utilizing the resources that are so plentiful
and so necessary for the extended harvesting
and annual repletion of fish and wildlife, includ-
ing habitat for migratory waterfowl and migra-
toiy game birds.
Outstanding examples of public hunting areas
and game management areas in Louisiana are
the 65,000-acre Pass-a-Loutre Public Shooting
Grounds near the mouth of the Mississippi River;
the 115.000-acre Chicago Mill Game Management
Area: G4,000 acres of the Fort Polk Military Re-
servation, licensed to the Louisiana Wild Life and
Fisheries Commission; Evangeline, Catahoula,
Red Dirt and Sabine Management Areas; and
many other areas in all parts of the state where
conservation practices move apace of growing
and expanding industry.
A few of these other areas are the Union
Parish Game Management Area, the West Bay
Game Management Area, the Jackson-Bienville
and Evangeline Parish Game Management Areas.
Unlike some states where industry is detri-
mental to outdoor recreation, Louisiana is fortu-
nate that industry and conservation move forward
in step, each aiding in the progress of the other.
It is clear that under the policies of State
agencies today, industry is being constantly at-
tracted to Louisiana and that the economic bene-
fits of expanded industry are also paced by
greater efforts to preserve and expand existing
industries and outdoor recreation founded upon
the vast forest, mineral and aquatic resources
with which Louisiana has been singular since
the early days settlement. +
Breaux Bridge Style — Etouffe
30 lbs. live crawfish onion tops parsley
Vi. cup oil i -2 sweet pepper
5 medium onions
Wash and cull crawfish. To approximately 10
gal. of boiling water add crawfish and scald for
5 minutes or until half cooked. (This is very im-
portant, because they will break up and become
mealy when cooking if they are not scalded long
enough.) Cool and peel at once, separating the fat
from the tails.
Heat cooking oil in pot and add minced onions
and saute. Add crawfish fat and cook over low
heat stirring constantly until fat comes to the
top. Add tails and sweet pepper and season to
taste. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add parsley and
onion tops and serve. Serves approximately 8
40 lbs. live crawfish 3 stalks celery
2 bxs. of salt (1 lb. 10 3 lemons
oz. size) 6 medium size onions
1 bottle red pepi:)er (2 1 gallon water
oz. size) 1 15 gal. can with tight
To the gallon of water add salt and red pepper.
Cut celery into .small pieces and add. Slice lemons
and onions and add. Using the largest burner pos-
sible, bring this mixture to a boil. Then add the
crawfish. When steam appears around the edges
of the cover begin to time and cook for 5 minutes.
Drain water immediately after. Crawfish are then
ready. Feeds approximately 6 or 7 people. +
Percy Viosca, Jr.
THE CULTIVATION of crawfish in man-made
impoundments seems destined to gi'ow by
leaps and bounds into one of Louisiana's
leading agricultural industries, judging by the
success of several pioneers in this field.
In the spring of 1960, the writer visited some
16 "crawfish farms" located mostly west of the
Atchafalaya floodway. Many of these "farmers"
were dabbling in crawfish cultivation on a trial
and error basis without scientific guidance and
without knowledge of the intimate facts in the
life of the crawfish upon which scientific culti-
vation must be based.
During the 1959-60 crawfish season, these pio-
neer projects already comprised over 2,000 acres,
with a production potential of as much as two
million pounds of the tasty crustaceans annually.
Some of the persons engaged in the new enter-
prise on a trial and error basis were already fac-
ing difficulties and were glad to have these
straightened out by consultation with the writer.
A number of them had hit upon right answers,
sometimes by accident, but usually by close ob-
servation of crawfish in their natural environ-
ment. Most of the latter were glad to learn the
whys and wherefores of their successes.
The knowledge of successes spread more rap-
idly than that of the failures, and numbers of
new farms were constructed during the summer
of 1960, with a vastly increased acreage devoted
to crawfish culture. Whenever I learned of the
location of a proposed farm, I contacted the own-
ers and advised them of the pitfalls that must
be avoided in an undertaking of this kind. For
example, in some cases there were too many fish
in the crawfish ponds or in the irrigation ditches,
and I was able to show the farmers how to get
rid of these fish by the use of a fish poison
which is harmless to cattle and other livestock.
In other cases, the farmers were advised to draw
the water off their ponds on or about July 1, so
The red swamp crawfish, (procambarus clarkii),
one of two large species suitable for crawfish cul-
that the crawfish could dig holes in which to de-
velop and protect their eggs until hatching time.
Some of the farmers were rearing crawfish as
their main crop and managing their impound-
ments either solely for this purpose, or with the
possibility of developing secondary crops of bull-
frogs and turtles. Some projects were original-
ly constructed as hunting preserves for attracting
wild ducks during the fall migration, but craw-
fish crops developed quite by accident and seem
de.stined to more than foot the bill. Other pio-
neers were raising crawfish in rice fields, some
in rotation with rice. One impoundment was
made in a swamp for the purpose of floating out
the harvestable timber, and the crawfish crops
developed as an incidental by-product.
Existing crawfish farms already cover a great
variety of terrain. Some are in alluvial lands
where both front lands and back lands, or a
combination of the two, are utilized. A number
are in the prairie soils of southwestern Louisi-
ana. The latter are mainly of two types, irriga-
tion reservoirs and rice fields proper. Some are
in drained wooded swamp, others in so-called re-
claimed marshland, dead end products of the
drainage craze, which have been waiting for real
estate agents who never showed up. Crawfish
culture may salvage many of these lost acres.
Some of the rice field projects point to the
intriguing possibility that rice culture may be
revolutionized by rotation with crawfish. One
may be complimentary to the other, crawfish be-
ing a winter crop and rice a summer crop. Full
credit for this last development must be given to
one \'oohies Trahan, a full-blooded Cajun whose
rice fields are located five miles south of Du-
son, Louisiana. Although Trahan has had no
formal education whatsoever and does not know
how to read or write, he is a keen observer of
things biological. Starting in a small way. twelve
years ago, Trahan has been producing crawfish
Gravel filter box
on an increasing scale each succeeding year. Not
only does he get a royalty of 10 cents per pound
for his crawfish (all he has to do is to weigh
them), but the value of his rice crop has been
enhanced tremendously by rotating with craw-
Before using crawfish, Trahan netted $30.00
per acre per year for his rice, with crawfish he
is netting $90.00 per acre per year for the rice
alone. With crawfish, there is no need to let the
rice fields lie fallow. They can produce a rice
crop as well as a crawfish crop every year, and
the rice is of the best quality, with no intermix-
ture of red rice or other weed seeds.
Besides the facts gathered at various private
crawfish farms, observations made at the state
pilot farm near Henderson have also been very
helpful, supplementing knowledge previously
gathered by the writer from field and laboratory
studies over a period of many years.
As this commission has been receiving daily re-
quests for information relative to crawfish cul-
ture, we submit herewith a series of "Hints to
Prospective Crawfish Farmers." While not the
last word on the subject, we hope these hints
will provide short cuts to success and enable be-
ginners to avoid some of the pitfalls that might
be encountered without some measure of scien-
Kinds of Crawfish to Rear
The red swamp crawfish (Procambarus
claykii) and the white river crawfish (Procam-
barus blandincjii) are two large species which
have been reared successfully in captivity for
commercial markets. Smaller species can be reared
for use as bait.
Soil Must be Waler-Tight
The soil must be capable of holding water at
all seasons of the year. Although the impound-
ments will be dry during the draw-down period
(see below), there must be water in the holes
which the crawfish dig to protect themselves and
their eggs during the summer months.
Any source of water not heavily laden with
objectionable minerals is suitable. It can come
from wells, lakes or streams. Some artesian and
well waters are too heavily charged with iron,
bicarbonate of soda, or other natural chemicals,
and these will be found to be unsuited to craw-
fish culture. Common salt (sodium chloride) is
not objectionable and in moderate amounts is
really beneficial. Water containing lime in the
form of calcium bicarbonate is especially desir-
able, but if not present, lime can be added (see
Location of Intake Pipe
It is best to place the intake pipe near the
bottom of a lake, bayou or canal, because bottom
water is always richer in fertilizer values,
Screening of Intake Pipe
All intake pipes must be suitably screened to
prevent entry of fish and other aquatic animals
which might feed on crawfish or compete for
their food supply. (See accompanying diagrams
for intake screen and gravel filter box.)
No Overflow Necessary
An overflow is not only unnecessarj' but actu-
ally undesirable, because valuable fertilizer ele-
ments can be lost with the escaping water. In
pond culture, it is only necessary to replace the
water lost by seepage, evaporation, and that used
up by trees or other plants whose foliage projects
above the water surface (transpiration). A
wooded pond requires much more water than one
Specifications for Levees
Levees with a vertical height of three feet are
ample for crawfish culture. The best specifica-
tions call for a two-foot crown, a three to one
slope on the wet side (pond side), and a two to
one slope on the dry side (outer side). Specifica-
tions for such a levee will be as follows : height,
three feet; crown, two feet; base 17 feet; section,
28.5 square feet; volume of soil per each 100
lineal feet, 105.5 cubic yards.
Depth of Water
Generally speaking, the deeper the water, the
The white river crawfish, (procambarus blandingii),
suitable for commercial culture.
larger the crawfish will grow before attaining
maturity. Two to 2 1/2 feet of water is ample, but
crawfish can be reared in water as shallow as six
If water is available, crawfish will come out of
their holes about October 1 to rear and scatter
their young. Any delay after that date will delay
the early crop the following spring, and this crop
is the most valuable. Depending upon pump ca-
pacity and area to be irrigated, pumps can be
started any time after September 15 so that there
will be some water in the ponds by October 1,
about the time of the first cool snap. Shallow
water encourages raccoons, ibises (becroche),
herons, and other animals which feed upon craw-
It is essential to drain a crawfish pond once a
year to kill off fish and other natural enemies.
During the draw-down period (see next para-
graph), the crawfish will dig holes for the pro-
tection of themselves, their eggs and/'or young. A
few small fish will sometimes survive by hiding
in the crawfish holes, but the crawfish population
will predominate as well as have a head start.
This period should be planned to accommodate
the crawfish which like to dig their holes and
go below ground on or about July 1. So this is
the best time to drain the water down to mud
level, and then it may be allowed to evaporate
down to a few inches below the surface of the
Fertilizer requirements are the same as would
be given by the county agent for raising any
crop requiring a high calcium fertilizer in the
same type of soil, eg., cabbage, cauliflower,
brussels sprouts, etc. Very acid soils (eg., sections
of the Florida Parishes) will also require liming
Recreational crawfishing with baited nets is a fami-
liar sign of spring in Louisiana.
with perhaps a ton of lime per acre, but this
should last for several years. Broken limestone or
basic slag, the pieces being about a half-inch over-
all, is excellent for maintaining the proper chemi-
cal balance in acid soils for a period of years.
Divide the fertilizer requirements for the given
crop by 180 days (Oct. 1 to April 1) to get the
average daily application per acre of water.
Application of Fertilizer
Fertilizer can be applied in one of several ways,
whichever is most economical in a given in-
stance. (1) Daily or weekly applications can be
scattered from the shore, taking advantage of the
direction of the wind. (2) Place the sacks of
fertilizer on small tables or platforms placed in
convenient locations and anchored so that the
tops are about four inches below the water sur-
face. (3) Place one sack on each table, cut it
open with hatchet or knife, and let the wave
wash dissolve and scatter it over the pond. (4)
The best plan, however, is to scatter the ferti-
lizer through the irrigation system. The cut open
sacks can be placed in the gravel filter box and
the pumps turned on as required. If applied week-
ly, use seven times the daily application. Longer
than weekly intervals are not recommended.
We are experimenting with various types of
vegetation at the pilot crawfish farm, however,
for the present, we recommend no aquatic plant
life other than the algae and underwater growths
which come naturally in the water without arti-
ficial stocking. During the draw-down period
(July 1 to September 1), land grasses and wild
legumes will grow; or cow peas, lespedeza or
other legumes can be planted over the area. These
will die when the water level is raised on Septem-
ber 1, and their tissues will furnish food for the
coming crop of young crawfish. This will be sup-
(Coutinued on Page 19)
Flyway Group Meets
APPROXIMATELY 65 MEMBERS of the technical
section of the Mississippi Flyway council,
along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife service
personnel and prominent wildlife personnel from
Canada, the Atlantic and Central Flyways, held
their spring meeting February 14-16 at the
Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, as guests of the Lou-
isiana Wild Life and Fisheries Commission.
The three-day meeting near Cameron, Louisi-
ana, drew flyway council technical representa-
tives from the 14 states comprising the Missis-
sippi Flyway. It marked the first time that
members of the council have met in Louisiana.
In addition to committee reports, covering a
wide range of subjects ranging from major mi-
gration waves in the flyway, pollution and para-
sites, to crop depredation and other problems con-
nected with management of migratory waterfowl
and migratory birds, representatives at the meet-
ing discussed mutual problems, plans and pro-
grams in which the flyway council is concerned.
Highlights of the meeting included an orienta-
Members of the technical section of the Mississippi
flyway council are shown at Rockefeller Wildlife
refuge main sate.
tion talk about the Louisiana marshes and the
Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge by Richard Yancey,
assistant director of the Louisiana Wild Life and
Fisheries Commission ; and field trips into the
refuge by marsh buggies and boats.
Those attending made numerous aerial inspec-
tions of the sprawling 85,000-acre wildlife refuge
donated to the state by the Rockefeller Founda-
tion. September 28, 1920.
Under the deed of donation, the Louisiana
Wild Life and Fisheries Commission manages the
refuge which provides sanctuary for approxi-
mately 600,000 ducks and about 35,000 geese.
In addition to providing winter refuge for mi-
gratory waterfowl. Rockefeller refuge also win-
ters millions of migratory birds.
The objective of the council is to coordinate the
efforts of all professional waterfowl workers and
to assure a sustained population of waterfowl in
the Mississippi Flyway in harvestable numbers.
At the first meeting of the Mississijipi Flyway
council in St. Louis in January 1952, 11h' aihnin-
Krank Helhdse. Illinois same spiHial
I960 waterfowl migration waves.
.lohn I,. Buckley, director of I'aluxent Waterfowl
Research Refuge, Laurel. Maryland.
Ted Shanks, Missouri State Conservation Commis-
sion, Waterfowl Management.
istrators established the Technical Section com-
posed of the various state waterfowl biologists
to provide the council with the information need-
ed to make sound decisions concerning the man-
agement of waterfowl.
This Technical Committee meets twice each
year — once in summer in St. Louis in conjunc-
tion with the Council meeting and once each
winter. The winter meeting is a work session and
reports are given on the progress of various proj-
ects. Louisiana was the host state for the group
this year at the Rockefeller Refuge headquarters.
The technical section meeting at Rockefeller
was well attended by state and federal personnel
concerned with waterfowl management, and
much was accomplished in long-range planning
of waterfowl management, Yancey said.
Reports were prepared on over twenty subjects
pertaining to the management of waterfowl by
individuals and committees of the Technical Ses-
These reports and the work of the various com-
mittees will be assembled for the use of the Mis-
sissippi Flyway Council in their deliberations
later this year. The result of this cooperative ef-
fort by state and federal personnel will be ex-
pressed in the recommendations formulated by
John Lynch, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, dis-
cussing goose production and family groups.
the council for the management of the conti-
nental waterfowl resource.
Those participating were :
Minnesota Department of Conservation : For-
rest Lee, Waterfowl Biologist, and Biologists
Robert L. Jessen, Robert L Venson and Leon L.
Wisconsin Conservation Department : Richard
Hunt, waterfowl biologist, Frank H. King, biolo-
gist, and Jim Hale, Chief, game research.
Michigan Department of Conservation : Mer-
rill L. Petoskey, waterfowl specialist.
Iowa State Conservation Commission : Jim
Sieh, Waterfowl biologist, and Everett B. Speak-
er, Superintendent of Biology.
Illinois Department of Conservation : George
Arthur, chairman, Mississippi Flyway Technical
Section and John Piazza, area manager.
Illinois Natural History Survey : Frank Bell-
rose, game specialist and Harold Hanson, game
Indiana Department of Conservation : Ed
Richardson, waterfowl biologist and Warren S.
Ohio Department of Natural Resources : Karl
(Continued on Page 20)
Morton Smith and Allen Ensminger discuss Louisi-
ana problems with flyway secretary Dick Vaught.
Raymond Duller, Central Flyway Representative,
speaking on little brown crane season.
STATE OF LOUISIANA
WHEREAS, the people of Louisiana are
dependent upon the natural resources —
soils, waters, forests, grasslands, minerals
and wildlife — to sustain life and contribute
to the growth and development of the State's
industry, commerce and agriculture; and
WHEREAS, it is now recognized that
there is a need for open spaces — the wilder-
ness and scenic areas, forests, grasslands,
streams and lakes — which are vitally im-
portant to the physical and mental health
of our ever-increasing numbers of citizens
who find pleasure and relaxation in the
out-of-doors ; and
WHEREAS, the week of March 19-25,
1961, will be observed across the nation as
National Wildlife Week, this being a time
set aside to alert all the citizens of the
nation to the need for proper use of all the
natural resources so that our future as a
nation may be secure. The 1961 Wildlife
Week focuses attention on the necessity of
long-range planning to provide for multiple
use of our natural resources through bal-
anced conservation planning for the future;
WHEREAS, all natural resources are
closely inter-related, it now becomes more
necessary than ever before that there be
developed conservation practices which will
provide our state and nation with the quality
and necessary quantity of water, food, fibre,
fuel, and recreation so that our growing
population can maintain a standard of liv-
ing that will strengthen a n d continue
America's leadership in the fi-ee world.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JIMMIE H.
DAVIS, Governor of the State of Louisiana
do hereby proclaim March 19-25, 1961 as
NATIONAL WILDLIFE WEEK
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have
hereunto set my hand and caused the
Great Seal of the State of Louisiana
to be affixed. Done at the Capitol in
the City of Baton Rouge on this the
21st dav of February, 1961.
Governor of Louisiana
Secretary of State
Notional Wildlife Federation
Its State Affiliate
The Louisiana Wildlife Federation
Fishing; is probably the greatest outlet for oiitdoori
recreati(»n. Multiple use of natural resources, alongl
with balanced c(»nservation, provides for water, food,'
fibre, fuel and fun for all persons.
U 19-25, 1961
Multiple Use of Our
Hunting is one of the chief recreational benefits
of multiple use of our natural resources. Water,
forests and land use are prime factors in the con-
tinued enjoyment of outdoor recreation.
OBJECTIVES FOR 1961
1. Alert the people of America to the need for
multiple use of our natural resources.
2. Plan and build the conservation circle for
balanced resource management.
3. Encourage all citizens to become informed
as to the relationship between man and his
4. To unite all conservationists for a common
Individual citizens interested in public welfare
for the future can contribute much through urg-
ing a widespread adoption of the multiple use
principle for application to natural resources, ac-
cording to T. H. Roger and Steve Harmon, Co-
Chairmen of the local observance of National
National Wildlife Week, sponsored annually
by the National Wildlife Federation and its af-
filiates, including the Louisiana Wildlife Federa-
tion is being observed all over the nation during
the period March 19-25 this year. Theme for the
observance is : "Multiple Use — Balanced Conser-
vation Planning for the Future."
"Our basic requirements of food, clothing and
shelter come from such natural resources as soil,
water and minerals," Roger and Harmon declared.
"These resources must be conserved, and prop-
erly used, if we are to remain as a strong and
"An increasing number of people now are mak-
ing more and more demands upon natural re-
sources," they said. "It therefore is important
that land and water areas be used for as many, or
multiple, uses as possible. If the greatest public
benefit is to result, it is necessary to use balanced
conservation planning for the future."
Citing examples, the co-chairmen said that
forests and ranges and parks on upland areas
serve the purpose of protecting valleys from
floods. These same areas, he pointed out, can
produce timber products, forage for livestock,
minerals and many types of outdoor recreations
— if they are not over-logged or over-grazed.
Similarly, surface streams and lakes can produce
valuable water supplies and recreations — if not
polluted or clogged with silt. *
WILDLIFE in LOUISIANA
conducted by Steve Harmon
Dear Editor: Kaplan, La.
While duck hunting in a rice
field blind, approximately five
mile.'^ west of Kaplan, last Decem-
ber, I killed what was mistaken
for a duck, a bird that I have been
unable to identify.
While reading your section in
the LOUISIANA C N S E R V A-
TIONIST on letters and questions
about Louisiana wildlife. I thought
perhaps if I wrote to you and de-
scribed the bird you may find it
of interest and identify it for me.
The bird was in all respects
built like a duck, very similar tn
what we call a "black jack." It
had the breast and wings of a
duck; the feet were webbed but
the webbing was not connected
near the tip of the toe as a duck's
is. It was more toward the rear.
Also, it had a beak rather than a
bill. This beak was similar to that
of a coot but stouter. The c(jloring
on the back was brown, similar
to the coloring on a snipe, and the
color of the breast was a grayish
white like that of the lihick jack
mentioned. The feathei's were like
those of a duck.
When cooked, this bird looked
like duck meat, but was not good
to the taste as that of a duck.
I hope this information is suf-
ficient enough to enable positive
identification of the bird.
HARRISON C. MEAUX, JR.
In rcjtlji to i/iiiir letter niiiceniiiiy
the identifiattiini of the bird de-
scribed by yon, the nearest Ihliii/ to
yonr description n-onid seem to lie one
of the grebes or "hell divers", hut of
course, it is iinpiissible to tell n'ith-
ouf seeing the bird. These birds, of
course, are not inelndtd union!/ the
iruterfon-l on n'hieh titere is an open
season and should not be shot.
Charles R, Shaw
Ass't Federal Aid Coordinator
Dear Editor: Lake Arthur. La.
Here is a picture I would like
to have put in the LOUISIANA
CONSERVATIONIST if possible.
These fish were caught by myself
and wife and two nephews in the
Lacassine Refuge during fishing
months. This is only one of the
fine catches we have made in the
refuge during the past year or so.
We only have to travel about 15
miles west of Lake Arthur.
I receive the LOUISIANA CON-
SERVATIONIST and really enjoy
it very much.
.J. L. ST, GERMAIN
Dear Editor: Baton Rouge, La.
I wonder if you might answer
a ciuestion on your questions and
answers page, concerning the win-
ter habitat of the common loon,
A few summers ago, while fish-
ing in eastern Canada and Maine,
I saw and heard many loons. The
natives told me that the birds
wintered around the Gulf of Mexi-
co. Never having seen or heard
one down here. I wonder where
DR, U, S. HARGROVE, M,D.
Many loons winter in. the lakes and
bays along the Louisiana coast. These
birds usually freqxient open water
areas and are not often found in the
smaller marsh lakes.
The loon seldom ntte>-s his wierd
cry down here and his u-inter plumage
is more drab than the lehite, ehcekcrcd
Yon have probably missed seeing
these birds in Louisiana since they
often stray far from shore and sel-
dom eall during the printer.
Morton M. Smith
Waterfowl Study Leader
Dear Editor; iNew Orleans, La.
I just received the recent issue
of the LOUISIANA CONSERVA-
TIONIST and was pleased to see
that you printed my account of
the armadillo in Harvey, La. Your
personal comments especially, on
the photograph and account, were
indeed very encouraging to me.
I'm very appreciative.
I had occasion the other day
to visit your new museum and was
indeed impressed. I've seen many
museums in the past, but sincerely
think this is the first lifelike dis-
play I've seen yet. The birds are
not stilted or cluttered together
as you see them in many museums.
They are certainly posed in a nat-
ural and lifelike way. This im-
pressed me most, I believe. This
feeling of liveliness in a museum
is a novel one.
In most museums, the displays
must be set up by technical men
alone, who forget about natural-
ness, and strive for technical per-
fection alone. But apparently an
artist as well as a good technician
has set up the displays at your
The museum displays remind me
of Audubon's paintings. They are
clear cut, natural, and simply but
beautifully designed, just as Au-
dubon's paintings are. This, I
think, is what made Audubon's
paintings so great. They were not
painted for technical perfection
alone, but were painted for artist-
ry and style, too.
Your museum of birds, in which
I take an interest primarily, is to
me like a recreation of the Audu-
bon paintings "in the flesh" and
your artist and taxidermist are
certainlv to be commended for
such a lively, wonderful display.
I think the very unusual, clear
lighting system plays no small
part in giving the display a meas-
ure of reality. It's a refreshing
change from the usual dark, dusty
museums I've seen in the past.
I hope I don't seem overly com-
plimentary about the museum, but
it is my sincere opinion of it.
Technically speaking, I did see
one mistake among the bird dis-
plays during my 30 minute visit
to your museum. This was in the
grackle display. The sign reads
"melanistic phase" under a grack-
le specimen. I don't believe grack-
les have plumage phases. These
melanistic phases do occur notice-
ably, however, in the hawn family.
Actually, the bird shown is an al-
bino grackle, and perhaps the sign
should read "Albino Grackle." The
term "phase" should be left out,
since albinism in this case is not
to be taken as a phase. Melaniam
is a condition where the bird's
plumage is black. The grackle in
the case is white, or albino.
In reference to the sign with the
grackle specimen, the sign "melanistic
phase" was used as a simple com-
promise. It should have read "abnorm-
plumage" and we have changed it. It
is not a true albino, as true albinism
is solid or off-white plumage with
pink eyes. We appreciate your interest
and welcome any future suggestions.
Curator, Louisiana Wildlife
These jumbo quail were sliot by E.
S. Cooper, Houma, La., who is shuu'n
u-ith his dog and the plump bob
whites. The birds were killed in Ter-
In reply to Cooper's interest in locat-
ing some feed to plant along ditches
that may provide food for wildlife.
we would like to suggest that Cooper
contact his county agent in Terre-
bonne parish for this information. The
county agent is in a j)ositio7i to give
i)iformation regarding the seed and
where it may be purchased.
Dear Editor: Houston, Texas
As a transplanted Louisianian,
I am stuck over here in Texas for
a few more years. I hope I can
come home soon.
I receive some of the issues of
the LOUISIANA CONSERVA-
TIONIST and there are Texans
who go "bug-eyed" when I pass it
around for them to see.
They have some pretty good
fishing here in Texas, but noth-
ing to compare with Louisiana.
Through the reading of the mag-
azine, and of course, my telling
them about the fishing (not brag-
ging), these sportsmen are more
and more patronizing both the
fresh and salt water fishing of
Louisiana. When they come back
here, they speak of the fishing
over there in awed wonder, as
though they had seen a ghost.
Over here in the south part of
Texas, we have a lot of bayous
and marshland similar to Louisi-
ana's and we need a small "float
on de dew" type of boat. The Lou-
isiana pirogue would be ideal. Can
you help me out with some plans
for a light plywood pirogue-type
boat. I certainly would appreciate
it. At one time, I had the plans,
but they have been lost in the
Please let me know if you can
send a set of plans. I would be
glad and happy to pay for them.
Thanking you in advance, I
would also like to say that I hope
for continued success and prog-
ress of the Louisiana Wild Life
and Fisheries Commission.
L. P. SKALASKI
The real Louisiana pirogue is a
dug-out, paitistakenly fashioned from
a suitable cypress tree. Seldom wider
than a man's hips, they are e.vtremely
thin and almost needle-shaped.
We feel that you have in mi>id a
two-man duck boat, generally referred
to as a pirogue. These are shallow
draft boats and ideally suited for
fresh water fishing and watei-fowl
This is the type of boat most widely
used in the south Louisiana marshes
by sportsmen and we will make every
effort to obtain a set of plans for
you. They are ideally suited for shal-
low water ponds, bayous and shallow
Every effort will be made to obtain
a set of plans for you. Perhaps Texas
sportsmen tciU find fliein more easij
to handle than any other type of eraft
in the waters you meiitio)i.
Thank you for your kind j-onorA's
about the LOUISIAXA COXSER-
\'ATIO.\IST and the i>ride n-hieh you
have in your native state.
Dear Editor: Shreveport, La.
I have never been on your mail-
ing list for the LOUISIANA COX-
SERVATIOXIST. but would ap-
preciate it if you would include
me on your future lists. I am an
avid sportsman and really enjoy
I am enclosing one snapshot of
a successful annual squirrel hunt
on Saline Bayou near Goldonna,
Louisiana. A group of my friends
and I make an overnight camping
and hunting trip at the beginning
of each season. We usually camp
on Saline Bavou and usually have
the sort of results you see in this
photograph. I have more photos of
this and other hunts if you are
interested. Persons shown in this
photograph, from left to I'ight.
are: John E. Morgan, Osborn
Blake, Ottis Blake, L. V. Rhymes,
and Robert Rhymes, all from Gol-
We are jtlaeiny your name on ttiv
mailing list to receive the LOUISI-
ANA COXSERVATIONIST and hope
that you eontinuc to take an active
interest in u-ildlifc conservation.
Thanks alxn for including the snap-
shot of s(juirrel hunt near Saline
Hayou. We are pleased to use if in
this section of the magazine.
Paradis, La. Dear Editor:
I would like to know if it is legal
to rob a hawk's nest in Louisiana.
If so, I would like to have some
information on the habits of
I am 11 years old and live in
Paradis and would like to have a
baby hawk for a pet.
Your Icitir concerning robbing a
hawk's nest has been referred to the
Fish and Game Division for reply.
In the first place, you should knou-
that It IS against the policy of the
Louisiana Wild Life and Fisheries
Commission to issue permits to keep
the young of any species of u'ildlife
as j)ets, and I am sure that you do not
u-isJt to violate the law in this respect.
1)1 the second place, most of our
hawks are very beneficial in the wild,
and H-ith the cveeption of the Duck
Han-k and the Coopers and Sharp-
shinned, are protected )iot only in
Louisiana but in most other states as
In the third place, the variation in
plumage makes the identification of
young hawks problematical by in-
e.cperienced pei'sons and it is doubt-
ful that even if you located a hatvk's
nest containing young that it would
be the species you mentioned.
In view of the above facts, I u:ould
suggest that you pick out some do-
mesticated species for a pet and enjoy
the n-ildlife species where they belong,
in the wild.
Charles R. Shaw
Ass't Federal Aid Coordinator
Dear Editor: Bogalusa, La.
I have been borrowing old
copies of the LOUISIANA CON-
SERVATIONIST for some time,
and I really commend you for the
work and the magazine that is
making a lot of people become con-
Our game and fish is a great
source of enjoyment and especial-
ly important as a source of food.
I'm sure the fathers of these 50
states would have been overcome
by hunger had it not been for the
game and fish they found for
food ; especially during the early
days of settlement.
In view of the above, I congrat-
ulated Governor Davis and the
Louisiana Wild Life and Fisheries
Commission in the purchase of a
large tract of land to i)roiluce
game and fish: and to converse
our fish and game at the same
I would think that the State of
Louisiana would do well if the
Louisiana Wild Life and Fisheries
Commisson would obtain leases
on scmie of the large tracts of land
(thousand of acres) owned by
some of the paper mills in our
state and set up game preserves
thereon and replenish the State
with game and fish that furnishes
the cleanest and most wholesome
sport in our state, as well as pro-
viding fish and game for food.
During oui' past depression
days, oui- game and fish became
very, very valuable food, and we
ate so much game and fish until
we almost did away with seed
stock of some of our animals and
I think we should put more mon-
ey and effort into game and fish
conservation and the Louisiana
Wild Life and Fisheries Commis-
I would like to see my name
added to your mailing list for
the LOUISIANA C N S E R V A-
TIONIST. J. FLOYD SEALS
Thank yon for your letter of Feb-
ruary 21. We are placing your name
on the mailing list to receive the
You may be interested in knowi^ig
that the program yon refer to has
been in operation for many years and
that in addition to the land recently
purchased outiight, the Louisiana
Wild Life and Fisheries Commission
has hundreds of thousands of acres of
land under management. Efforts to
acquire additional land will continue.
At the present time we are receiv-
ing full cooperation of paper manu-
facturing companies; special founda-
tions; the U.S. Forest Service; the
U.S. Army Engineers; the U.S. Army
and private industry.
In addition to the tract of land ac-
quired recently by outright purchase,
the Louisiana Wild Life and Fisheries
Commission has approximately 15
large areas notv under its jurisdic-
tion and management. The total acre-
age amounts to 833,301 acres. Of this
total, 228,750 acres are involate sanc-
tuary; 378,778 acres are open to con-
trolled hunting by permits; and 161,-
703 acres are open to hrtnting during
the open season.
The Louisiana Wild Life and Fish-
eries Commission is hard at work to
acquire additional lands for protec-
tion and ma)iagement of its wildlife
We appreciate your interest in this
matter and hope that in the years
ahead more individuals will become
as keenly aware of the value of such
tracts of land to the perpetuation of
hunting and fishing and to safeguard
against cvtinction of any form of
Dear Editor: Singer, La.
Please add my name to the mail-
ing list of your fine publication,
the LOUISIANA C O N S E R V A-
TIONIST, and accept my compli-
ments on a very informative and
My wife and I are playing hosts
this winter to a Canada goose
that has taken up with our flock
of tame geese. It has become a
part of the family and we hope
that next year it will return with
a mate as did another species of
wild goose this year. The article
in the November-December issue
especially interested us.
JAMES K. WHITE
Release Educational Film
Warden Of Dke M
THE LOUISIANA Wild Life and Fisheries Com-
mission has released its newest education-
al film, "Louisiana Marshes Of the Missis-
sippi", a thirteen and one-half minute dramatic,
color-sound glimpse of the sprawling Louisiana
marshes and its wildlife and diversified indus-
tries which depend so entirely on Louisiana's
natural marshland resources.
The film, which will be distributed through the
Commission's film lending library for showing
before school, civic and other groups, was pro-
duced by Avalon Daggett, Louisiana-born photog-
rapher-lecturer. Miss Daggett is head of Avalon
Daggett Productions in Los Angeles, California,
with offices in Baton Rouge.
Considered one of the most appealing natural
history films, the movie takes the viewer on a trip
through the marshes of the Mississippi Delta.
Along the gulf of Mexico lies one of our last
great frontiers. Not solid earth nor open water, it
is the marshland where the Mississippi deposits
two to three million tons of sediment a day,
washed down from the lands through which the
river travels. Four million acres of this land lie
at or near sea level. This vast fringe of wet land
extends for from ten to thirty miles and within
itself contains a variety of conditions supporting
different kinds of plant and animal life.
These grass-covered lowlands are flat and tree-
less with only shreds of dry land. The ridges
float on liquid mud and though only two roads
have been built in this area at tremendous cost,
this land is one of the richest habitats of varie-
ties of birds and fur-bearing animals that we
possess. One sees squadrons of geese — Snow, Ca-
nadian and Blue geese winter here. Many of
the ducks from the northern lands come to these
marshlands. In the film are closeups of crabs,
turtles, oysters, alligators, raccoon, mink, otter,
muskrat, and nutria that abound in this area.
Viewers see a trapper set his traps and go slog-
ging through the mud to attend to them. The
skins are dried and sold at auction at the end of
This film is a revelation to those of us who
have not lived close to this area. The lack of
travel facilities where most of the getting about is
done in hipboots or pirogue has left many large-
ly ignorant of the beauty and rich natural life
that exists in the marshlands. Many of the
sequences are of startling beauty; interest is
maintained to the end and one wishes that the
visual trip were longer.
Air views of the vast marshlands are seen
where only two roads cross the land but the
marsh hides a natural fur farm ; and hundreds
Born on a Louisiana plantation. Miss Avalon Das^ett
developed her appreciation of nature by exploring
vi'oods, fields and marshes. After mastering the
technique of recording her observations by camera,
she now shares her exciting adventures afield and
afloat with audiences interested in natural history
of birds call this home. It portrays one family as
they leave their home, load everything they will
need on a barge, and chug along bayou and canal
to their remote trapping grounds. Sequences show
their life while at camp and how they prepare
their muskrat pelts by stretching and dry
them in the sun. The skins of mink, nutria and
otter are tacked to boards to dry. The sales
tallied up at season's end make these Louisiana
coastal marshes one of the greatest fur produc-
tion areas in the nation. This wilderness, hostile
to man, gives up a rich harvest to a hardy few. +
Because Avalon Daggett ventures far afield in search
for material for her movies, one prominent reviewer
recently said of her film, "they are not merely picto-
rially beautiful and dramatically exciting; but also
carry you arm-in-arm and eye-to-eye with her, as
together you explore a new, surprising, wonderful
Herman J. Pragcr, Jr.
This 12S-pound yellow finned tuna was boaled by
AT LAST THE LONG awaited week end had ar-
rived, the time when we would go "down"
the river and "out" into the Gulf, after big
game fish in this newly opened fishing frontier
off the mouth of the Mississippi River.
It may seem funny to some, to have lived and
fished in New Orleans for the last 25 years, and
never tried our hand at this type of fishing.
However, until an ardent and sincere hardwork-
ing charter boat skipper took up this challenge,
this opportunity to tackle these unknown waters,
few people had the opportunity to do so, or the
experience to know how to do it successfully.
Capt. Bob and Mrs. Mitcheltree, with their first
mate Don Lyman, a transplanted Floridian who
has been in and out of charter boat fishing since
1925, took the first charter boat operating in
these waters, strictly for big game fishing. I had
known Capt. Bob and Don from fi-shing with
them aboaixl the "Jennifer Ann." Bob used to
fish out of Grand Isle, mostly bottom fishing
while tied to one of the numerous oil rigs, in
close and far out. Trolling for Spanish mackerel
and tarpon were also some of his successful ac-
complishments. Now, this has been left behind,
and he has moved to the new territory of the
Gulf off of South Pass, but I'm getting ahead of
Our party of five, Pat and Joe Giardina, J. B.
Prager III, my wife, Kay and I left New Orleans
via the new Mississippi river bridge about 1 :30
P.M. on Wednesday, August 23. We headed down
the river on highway 23 to Venice, some 75 miles
to the South. The road is in very good condi-
ion, paved all the way and terminates there.
This is as far as one can go by car towards the
mouth of the river.
We left early, anticipating heavy traffic, how-
ever, except for a heavy thunderstorm at Port
Sulphur, our trip was pleasant and quicker than
expected. Capt. Bob was waiting and early as
usual, so we boarded the "Jennifer Ann" and left
for his new quarters at Rear Range Light in
South Pass, two miles from the Gulf.
The Jennifer Ann is a 45 foot lugger type hull,
diesel powered with all of the necessary equip-
ment for this type of fishing. I climbed up on
the flying bridge and talked with Capt. Bob
about our past trips, and of his new experiences
at the mouth of the river. His tales of the large
Prater, left, with it.") pound tuna; and Eddie Wagner
with seven foot — two inch 16 pound sailfish.
fish made my spine quiver with excitement. I had fished
in Miami and Panama City, but had as yet to land a big-
game fish. So far that year, Capt. Bob had boated 22
billfish — six of these sails, 3 blues and rest white marlin.
The larg-e bull dolphin and tuna were too numerous to
count. The top weights are blue marlin — 392 lbs. —
white marlin 92 lbs. — sailfish 65 lbs. — tuna 130 lbs.
— dolphin 43 lbs. — wahoo 25 lbs. With this before me, we
longed for next day when we would be out giving them
The trip to the camp, some 22 miles, takes one hour
to the head of the passes and one hour from there down
to Rear Range Light in South Pass. Capt. Bob chose
South Pass for it is the shortest route to the deep blue
fishing area. His camp is a small house, built some 30
years ago, by a retired Chief Petty Officer of the Coast
Guard. Capt. Bob bought this home and leased the land.
There are two very nice rooms for the fishing party,
dining room with various mounted fish adorning the wall,
mounted by J. T. Reese of Fort Lauderdale, who Capt.
Bob represents. Don skins the catch and prepares them
for mounting if you wish. Capt. Bob and his wife, who
directs operation "Homefront", live in a room adjoining
the kitchen on one side and Don has a private room on the
other side. The bath facilities, new and freshly painted,
are to the left of the main house. The showers are also
in this building and feel mighty wonderful when you re-
turn after a day of fishing.
Mrs. Micheltree prepared a huge supper, serving about
7:30 P.M. After our leisure meal, all gathered around the
table, recalling past moments of fishing and hunting.
For in the winter, this is some of the finest hunting
grounds for geese and ducks. One thing very noticeable
down there, no mosquitoes. Why, I don't know, but it is
a pleasure to be free of those pests. Before turning in, we
walked out to the dock on the river, under a clear moon-
light sky and waved at a large freighter passing.
We were called at 5:30 a.m. We dressed and found a
full breakfast of eggs, bacon or pork sausages, biscuits,
.ielly, fruit juice or tomato juice and hot coffee waiting.
From the camp, it is two miles to the mouth of the river.
We passed the bar pilots' station on our starboard side
and the last house on the land — that of the Coast Guard
at the very entrance of the River.
The Gulf was flat and lazy. The "Jennifer Ann" has
a canvass stretched over the front deck, and the air mat-
tresses and breeze cures all ills. We headed in a south-
southeast direction and settled down for two-hour and
45 minutes run. This is approximately where the deep
water is, and where they had been having the best luck
Unfortunately, we could not find the blue water and no
Don prepared the bait and rigged the lines on the out-
riggers. Three lines are trolled from the outriggers, two
of these from the port side, with the second line rigged
halfway along the length of the outrigger, all lines very
close to the boat and skipping on the water. One "meat
line" of %" cotton rope is trolled from the stern on star-
board side with a red feather duster in the propellor's
wake. The last line is trolled from the stern on the port
side. This is an idea of Don's and is rigged with a one-
quarter inch cotton line about 20 feet long tied to a
beer can, with a 3 ft. leader attached to the line. An-
other red feather duster is used. This can spirals under
the water, breaks water, skips around on top, and dives
under again, acting as a teaser. Mullet is used as the
bait on the three outside lines.
"Tuna," yelled Capt. Bob from the flying bridge. We
looked to our port and saw tuna by the do'zens leapino- out
of the water. This was the first time we had seen this
sight. We'd heard about the tuna, so thick one could
walk on them, but seeing was believing. We veered to
port and trolled through the school. Wham, and we had
something. .Joe had the chair and started in with it,
but our first catch was disappointing. It was a black tip
shark about four feet long. As Don was cutting the shark
loose, something hit his meat line and went deep, as deep
as the rope would allow. Don handlined him in and it
turned out to be a 15 lb. allison yellow-finned tuna.
Their fins are a bright yellow and their body is like an
Jay took the chair, and we started fishing again. The
school disappeared and never returned.
^ Then again, wham!, the line snapped from the out-
rigger and started out like a jet was attached to the end.
The 12/0 reel spun off line like a bait casting rod, then
stopped, and Jay set the hook and started to reel. Don
asked that the other lines be reeled in and set aboard.
As Pat was reeling in the line on the starboard side,
something rapped her line. Pat was more excited than
anyone, and the ribbing she took bringing in her fish
showed she certainly is a wonderful sport. At last she
had her catch close to the boat. Don had the leader and
boated the first fish of the trip, a nice 26 pound dolphin.
Jay was still fighting his fish, which seemed larger
than Pat's. Soon Jay had his alongside and Don gaffed
a very nice 32 pound bull dolphin. It wasn't big game
fish, but it certainly started the trip off with a bang.
The lines were rigged out again. Don usually catches
the bait the morning of the trip. He takes the flat boat
with an outboard motor and goes down the river to one
of the cuts, out into the flats, and casts for mullets with
a net. This is the bait which has proved the most suc-
Don takes the fresh mullet and using a very sharp
deboning- knife, slits the back open on each side of the
backbone, makes a cut across the backbone right behind
the head and close to the tail and then removes backbone
and entrails. This allows the bait to "work" when it is
being trolled. He then takes a hook and inserts it from
the back thru the lower belly of the mullet between the
two ventral fins with the eye of the hook almost even
with the front of the mouth.
The leader wire is passed thru the lower jaw, the
eye of the hook and the top of the head and then twisted
to make up the end of the leader. The leader is about
1/32" spring wire some twenty-five feet long and made
fast to a swivel on the line end. A double line of some
twenty feet is used next to the swivel so that when the
mate is trying to handline the big ones in, the chance
of line breakage is at a minimum. 'The back of the mullet
is left open and not sewed up. The belly of the mullet has
not been .slit, the only puncture being that of the hook.
This allows the bait to be trolled longer and less chance
of pulling apart.
The line is payed out about 75 to 100 feet behind the
boat and skips the water. The outriggers are some thirty
feet long and extend from each side of the boat. The line
is rigged from the pole to the clothes pin on the outrigger,
and then the clothespin is brought to the end of the out-
rigger. The lengjth of the outrigger enables the bait fish
to skip, simulating a flying fish as it skims and jumps
over the waves. The outrigger serves another purpose for
the billfish usually attacks a bait with a strike of its bill,
makes a pass at the "dead" fish as it sinks in the water
and on the second pass swallows its victim.
As the fish attacks the bait, the line is snapped from
the clothespin in the outrigger by the blow, then the bait
starts to sink, remaining- in the same place as the line
slack is taken out. This is when the fish is "supposed" to
take the bait, and usually does.
The line will start going out on free spool. A count of
ten is made, if one can wait that long, then the drag is
engaged and the hook set.
This is the time when the excitement takes place. He
really takes off, reeling out the line. The sight of a bill-
fish on the end of the line is something to behold, some-
thing which you cannot explain to others, but must
come through experience. Most of the fish will strike in
this fashion, however, many times the fish will crash
the bait, sound and never appear until brought to gaff.
Sometimes the fish will swim directly behind the bait,
in full view of the fishermen, with his dorsal fin ex-
Joe Giardina. with j
from the New Gulf bi
fine CS pound white marlin
game fish frontier.
tending above the water. It may look at the bait once or
tivice, even go from bait to bait, and not finding it to
his liking, swim off, much to the disappointment of the
fisherman. The correct drag setting is highly important.
One tiling that most fishermen do is lighten the drag
as the fish takes out line. The fact is it should be loosened
as the line on the reel decreases. As the line has been
payed out to four inches in diameter, or two thirds of
the full spool, the pull has increased to 60 pounds. When
the spool is halfway, the pull has increased to 80 pounds
and when the reel is on the last few feet of line, it will
take a tremendous 240 pounds pressure to overcome the
drag, or si.x times greater than at the start, without even
touching or adjusting the drag setting.
The lines were not out for long, when Don came flying-
down from the bridge. Jay had the rod in his hand and
we could all see the dorsal fin of a marlin following the
bait. Then, snap went the outrigger and in a short time
Jay had his fish hooked. The fish took out quite a bit of
line on his first run and started lumping, two, three, four
times, and then he went down. Jay fought it up, then out
it would go again, taking out the line which had just been
so hard to bring in.
After about twenty-five minutes, the double line came
up, then the leader wire, which Don grabbed and pulled
in carefully. These fish, although seemingly outdone, can
surely fool you and one has to be very careful of the
bill, which has been known to pierce a man and even the
hulls of fishing boats. Don had the bill at last in his
gloved hands, and Capt. Bob left the wheel and threw a
tail rope on the marlin to enable them to land the fish
without fear of losing it, in the event the leader wire
broke or the fish pulled the hook. When it was pulled
aboard and measured, the weight was 82 pounds, 9 feet
two inches long. A very fine specimen for a white marlin,
in any fishing area. This was our first billfish and were
we excited. The best part was that we still had two
days of fishing ahead.
We fished the rest of the day, raised one more bill-
fish that refused to take the bait, then headed back to
the camp for a good supper and much needed rest.
Next day we were out, looking for blue water. This is
a fishing oddity. One day it is here, next day it is there.
Then it cannot be found at all.
On our way out, a large manta ray was sighted, then
sounded as oiir boat drew alongside. Some 20 miles out
a whale loomed up. blowing and playing on the surface,
cruising lazily along with his head and body just even
with the top "of the water. We veered to starboard and
put it directly in front of us, approaching to about 2.50
feet. Capt Bob respected this whale, and I don't blame
him. It was at least 40 feet long, almost as long as the
boat. We followed her for 10 minutes, speeded up the
engine and it sounded, throwing up a hugh V-shaped
tail as it did. The tail looked 10 feet across and we
snapped a picture of it as it raised. The whale never
came up again, so we continued our trip out to the
The Gulf was very flat, for it was dead calm. The fish-
ing outlook was not too bright. We were disappointed.
This is the drawback to deep sea fishing, the very long
and tiring monotony of waiting. But this waiting is usu-
It was just about noon, and we were munching on
sandwiches prepared by Mrs. Mitcheltree. Suddenly there
was a fin following the port outrigger. .All hands were
alert and Joe was sitting in the fighting chair. Then,
the fish took the bait and gave Joe a merry time. This
is the "unknown" which tingles your spine, for out there
there's no telling what one might attract and, with luck,
land a big fish.
The fish jumped several times and Joe fought it.
Although it turned out to be smaller than Jay's fish, it
seemed to fight harder. After forty minutes the second
white marlin was boated, a very nice fish carrying a
weight of 68 pounds, seven ft., one inch. Joe had at last
landed his billfish and was he excited.
The lines were again rigged and we resumed trolling.
This was my turn in the chair. After these fine catches,
I not only had my companions giving me "expert" advice,
even Pat was telling me how to land a fish.
Three o'clock came and passed, with my only reward
a ten pound bonito and two five feet long black tip
sharks. The time to pull in our lines arrived, for we were
thirty-odd miles and several hours out. Reluctantlv, I
helped reel in the lines and settled for a ribbing on how
to catch big fish, and how not to catch sharks. My only
consolation was that there was still tomorrow and our last
chance. Time would be against me though; for on the
third day of the trip Capt. Bob does not go out so far.
He must return to his camp around 1 P.M., and travel
up river to pick up his new party about .5 P.M. in Venice.
The wind had started to ruffle the Gulf and it looked
like I would have to accept the verbal punishment until
our next trip. I was glad to see night come; the anxiety
for the next day was becoming unbearable, along with
Earlier than usual the next day, we were up and ready
to go. The wind had ijicked up and a rather large chop
had developed during the night. The "Jennifer Ann"
ploughed on through the heavier seas, and one had to
hold on now.
With bad weather and prospects of an early return,
it looked like we'd had it. We did not intend to try to
find the blue water on this, the last day, but would
fish in close. Don had iced down the bonito taken the
previous day, and proceeded to prepare it for bait. He
slit the sides in a sort of tapered cut and then across
the front of the lower part of the gills, making a trian-
gular shaped "boat," for the inside cavity created a
hollow condition and it did look like a small boy's play-
boat, some sixteen inches long.
The under part of the fish is rather hard and will troll
for a long period without the need of changing. Don said
he wanted to try something different for me after all of
the ribbing. The" other lines were rigged with mullet, and
all were payed out about 7:.30 A.M. They say that fish
bite better when there is a chop. If this is so, we felt that
they should devour the bait today, for the chop was
surely there, some three feet high.
Sure enough, at exactly eight o'clock, a fish hit the
port outrigger. No one ever did see what hit it, and
there wasn't any backdrop, it acted like it was hooked on
an express train. No jumps, no nothing; only the line
spinning out and for a while, I didn't think it would
ever stop. We were using a 12/0 reel holding some 600
yards of 1.30# test line, and even that did not seem big
enough. I had heard about the reels getting so hot that
they could not be touched on the side plates. We were
finding out this was true from first hand experience.
This heat is set up by the drag and line running out at
Sure enough, Don had brought me luck, for the un-
known fish had hit the big bonito belly, and it sure looked
as if he liked it. Of course, I had a lot of encouragement,
like "it's a shark," "it's too big," "the line will break,"
"it's getting late," "we have to go in," and other remarks.
In fact, they almost had a fight over who was to douse
me and the" reel with buckets of water. At first this
seemed unnecessary, but when nine, then ten o'clock came
around, and the battle was still on, it felt wonderful. If
one did not have a fishing harness, a fish of this fight-
ing strength would prove to be hard to handle. A harness
enables the fisherman to take the strain off of his arm
muscles and pull with his back.
The fish was brought to the double line at least three
times, and each time started a new run, as if it had been
just hooked. Ten thirty came and passed, and the idea
that it might be a shark changed, for the runs were too
fast and it seemed to have too much stamina and fight
left. About eleven o'clock, Don finally was able to grab
the leader and bring it to gaff. Capt. Bob had to help
Don pull it aboard. At long la.st, after three and a quarter
hours, we had finally boated a 128 pound yellow finned
allison tuna, some five feet long, with a girth of 54
inches. I have read fishing stories of how men had
battled with much larger tuna for many more hours, and
I didn't know how they do it.
The tuna may not have been as glamorous as the dol-
phin and the marlin, but I was well satisfied with the
catch, and very satisfied with the entire trip.
The long time consumed in landing the fish had taken
us out farther. We headed in promptly.
Our arrival back in Venice was the end of three won-
derful days, days which we shall not soon forget. To help
us to remember, Don skinned out all the fish and we had
them mounted. A magnificent job. These and fish landed
on later trips adorn our office, causing much attention,
bringing about real deep sea fishing stories and pub-
licizing this wonderful fishing area of the mouth of the
Capt. Bob has big plans for this area. He certainly
deserves a lot of credit for his efforts.
One day we hope there will be a very fine fishing
resort operating in this area, for the fish are there.
Some dav there may be as many boats fishing this
territory as" those off Bimini Cat Cay, Walker Cay and
other famous areas. One day this area will draw these
fine fishine boats. Time will tell! No doubt about the
fish being there. It is just who will take them! +
(Continued from Page 7)
Baited nets are used in shallow water in the taking
plemented by insect life which grows naturally
or falls into the water. When the crawfish crop
is alternated with rice, it is wise to leave the
stubble and straw in the fields. This will not only
furnish food, but the piles of straw will provide
hiding places to protect the young crawfish from
Where to Secure Broodstock
Broodstock can be secured from commercial
crawfish catchers and from dealers in market
crawfish. Both Henderson and Pierre Part, Lou-
isiana, are prolific sources of wild crawfish. Most
of the rice field crawfish farms in southwestern
Louisiana will sell broodstock for the initial stock-
ing of new crawfish farms. A 50 lb. sack of live
crawfish per acre seems ample for initial stock-
ing. It is best to secure this stock whenever it
is available at the lowest market price, which is
usually about the end of May or early June, when
the crawfish reach adult stage and get too tough
and hard for market. Sometimes a source of
broodstock develops in late summer or early fall
when equinoctual rains or floods drive them out
of their burrows, and they crawl overland at
night. At this season it is only necessary to stock
with females, as the eggs are already fertile. The
males will die off anyhow and are only equal to
so much fertilizer.
Although harvesting can be done in any pond
as experience dictates, the early crop always
brings the best prices. Standard crawfish nets
and traps are the usual methods employed. A re-
cent innovation is the use of floats from which
hang lengths of cord which reach bottom. Fish
hooks, preferably barbless (homemade hooks can
be made by bending wire), are attached to the
bottom ends of the cords and the baits are at-
tached to these. The baited floats are placed in
rows in the crawfish ponds. The crawfish catch-
ers follow these rows of baits, scooping up each
bait in turn with all of the crawfish which have
gathered around it. The size of the mesh of these
scoop nets should be sufficient to permit the es-
cape of all crawfish under acceptable commercial
size. Each baited hook with its float is then
thrown back into the water a little distance to
one side, thus forming another row. The crawd'ish
are dumped from the scoop net into bushel bas-
kets, floating tubs, or small boat-like floats.
5 cloves garlic
parsley and onion tops
2 cups water
Sportsmen and their families "work" two dozen or
more nets catching crawfish.
30 lbs. live crawfish
2 cups flour
1 cup cooking oil
3 onions chopped
1 sweet pepper chopped
Wash and cull crawfish. To approximately 10
gai. of boiling water add crawfish and scald for
5 min. or until half cooked. (This is very impor-
tant, because they will break up and become
mealy while cooking if they are not scalded long
enough.) Cool and peel at once, separating the fat
from the tails.
Make a golden brown roux with flour and oil.
Add onions and saute. Add crawfish fat and stir
constantly over low heat until oil comes to the
top of mixture. Add water slowly. Add sweet pep-
per and garlic and seasoning to taste. Put on a
very low heat and simmer for about an hour. Add
tails and cook for 20 minutes. Cook in an uncov-
ered pot. Add parsley and onion tops just before
Feeds approximately 10 people. *
(Continued from Page !))
Bednarik, waterfowl biologist, and biologists
Lawson Reau and R. K. Martinson.
Missouri State Conservation Commission : Dick
Vaught, Secretary-Treasurer, Mississippi Flyway
Technical Section, Ted Shanks, waterfowl man-
agement, Harold Terrill, management, George
Brakhage, waterfowl management and Robert L.
Kentucky Department of Conservation : Frank
Dibble, waterfowl biologist, Arnold Mitchell, Di-
rector, Division of Game Management and James
Tennessee Department of Conservation : Calvin
Barstow, Supervisor, waterfowl management.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission : Dave
Donaldson, waterfowl biologist.
Louisiana Wild Life and Fisheries Commis-
sion : Richard Yancey, Morton Smith, Allan Ens-
minger. Bob Chabreck, Bob Harmon, Clarke
Hauffpauir, and other commission personnel.
Mississippi Game and Fish Commission : John
Pharis, P-R Coordinator, Henry Bobbs, Super-
visor, Western Management Areas and Joe B.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Sport
Fisheries and Wildlife: Ed Addy, Atlantic Fly-
way Representative, Art Hawkins, Mississippi
Flyway Representative and Raymond Buller,
Central Flyway Representative.
Region III : Al Studholme, Chief, Division
of Wildlife, Biologists Jerry Pospichal and Har-
vey Nelson, and Ross Hanson, inlot-biologist.
Management and Information.
Region IV : Francis Gillett, Chief, Division of
Wildlife, wildlife management biologists Royston
Rudolph and Jake Valentine, wildlife re.search Bi-
ologists Ralph Andrews and John Lynch, and
Jack Perkins, Refuge Division.
Patuxent Research Refuge : John L. Buckley,
Director, Aelred Geis, Assistant Chief, Popula-
tion and Distribution Studies, and Walter Cris-
sey, Population and Distribution Studies.
Canadian Wildlife Service : Bernie Gallop, bi-
Wildlife Management Institute: P'ield Repre-
sentatives Larry Jahn and Bill Allen.
Pilots : E. B. Chamberlain, U.S. Fish and Wild-
life Service. Nelson Summerell and Buck Davis,
Louisiana Wild Life and Fisheries Commission,
and N. C. Hoefelman, Missouri.
Also attending the meeting from Louisiana
State University were :
Dr. Leslie L. Glasgow, Professor, Game Man-
agement, and game management students John
L. Bardwell, Ernest Jemison, Hugh Junca and
John Davis. +
Francis (Jillett, right. Region l\ Chief Division of
Wildlife, and Ed Addy, Atlantic Flyway Representa-
tive, sampling Louisiana oysters.
Richard Y'ancey, Assistant Director, Louisiana Wild
Life and PMsheries Commission, showing Louisiana
Ross Hanson, center. Pilot — IJiologist. .Management
and Information, region III, presenting paper on
mid-winter waterfowl inventories.
All ll;i\\Uiiis. r.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Missis-
sippi Fl>wa.\ Representative, addressing group.
of the month
cal bird family and belong to 358 species
occuring in the Western Hemisphere. Only
32 species inhabit the United States and of these
only 17 species occur in Louisiana according to
Dr. George H. Lowerv, Jr., in his book "LOUISI-
With the possible exception of the Vermilion
Flycatcher (which is quite rare in Louisiana)
the Scissor-tail is the most spectacular member
of this family occuring in our state. Dr. Lowery
describes the Scissor-tail as being predominate-
ly of a pearl-gray color with the under wing lin-
ings and sides of the breast varying in color
from a brilliant salmon-pink to a saturn-red. The
tail of the male may range in length from 7 to
10 inches while that of the female is considerably
Although there is a breeding population of
these birds in Northwestern Louisiana, and they
have been recorded during each month of the
year except February, most people are not aware
that this attractive interesting and valuable bird
is one of the 387 .species comprising the state
Although not frequently seen outside of South-
western Louisiana in the winter or migratory sea-
son, and Northwestern Louisiana during the sum-
mer or breeding season, this unusual bird seems to
have been visiting our state for much longer than
most people realize. In Bulletin No. 28 of the De-
partment of Conservation, written by Harry C.
Oberholser and published in 1938, he records the
earliest known spring arrival date of this bird
as March 25, 1894.
The name Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is very de-
scriptive and refers, of course, to the long deeply
forked tail which often seems to open and close
with a scissors-like movement during flight. The
male makes some very spectacular display flights
during courtship and may continue this activity
until the eggs are hatched. These aerial acrobatics
are accompanied by a sort of cackling noise prob-
ably produced by loud snapping of its bill.
The nest is fairly large and bulky for a small
bird and is well lined with soft material. In Lou-
isiana, the lining is generally cotton which is
usually available in the vicinity. In our state the
nest is apt to be found in one of the pecan groves
common in Northwestern Louisiana or in one of
the scattered trees left for shade in the extensive
pastures of the re^irion. From four to six whitish
eggs blotched with dark brown will be found in
the nest. Five seems to be the usual number.
The typical flycatcher family habit of sitting
in an exposed location and then flying out after
passing insects is also possessed by these birds.
There is yet another trait which this bird
shares with some of the other flycatchers, especi-
ally our common Eastern Kingbird. That is the
habit of fearlessly attacking larger birds such as
hawks and crows, etc., whenever the latter invade
its home territory. It may at times appear to be
riding the back of the larger bird and pecking
at the top of its head. This habit is pi'obably re-
sponsible for the Mexican myth that the favorite
food of the Scissor-tail is the brain of another
Speaking of food, this is one department in
which this bird can be proud to stand up and be
counted as its diet is composed largely of insects,
spiders and such creatures, some 96 percent of
its diet falling into this category. Farmers might
be interested to know that grasshoppers and
crickets form some 46 per cent of its food and
that beetles form about 14 per cent. This would
indicate that this is an extremely beneficial bird
in addition to being attractive to watch. A small
amount of seeds and small fruits make up the
balance of its diet.
LA HTATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
EATON RO'JGE LA
Game Bird . . .
Here is a sight to stir the pulse
of any hunter — a flock of wild
turkeys making their way cau-
tiously through the sparsely
timbered areas where they feed,
roost, and nest.